Amend the State Tax Laws 2020

Last updated: Jan 19, 2020

Details about this bill
Category: Taxation
Status: In Committee
Sponsor: Representative Ryan Tipping, House 123
Session: 129
Bill #: LD 2047




This bill does the following.

Part A authorizes the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Maine Revenue Services to disclose certain confidential tax information to the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, Bureau of Insurance as necessary to administer Maine's insurance taxes and the credit for disability income protection plans in the workplace.

Part B clarifies that "eligible business equipment" under the business equipment tax exemption program does not include property to the extent it is eligible for exemption from property tax under any other provision of law and "qualified property" does not include any vehicle on which a tax assessed pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 36, chapter 111 has been paid.

Part C allows a married taxpayer to claim a personal exemption deduction for that taxpayer's spouse when not filing a joint return, as long as the spouse has no gross income during the taxable year and, notwithstanding the temporary suspension of the federal personal exemption deduction through 2025, a personal exemption deduction may otherwise be claimed for the spouse for federal income tax purposes. This change applies to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2020. It also amends the real estate withholding law, excepting buyers of real estate from the withholding requirement if the consideration paid for the property is less than $100,000. This increased threshold is effective for sales occurring on or after January 1, 2021.

Part D allows Maine Revenue Services to set off any refund under Title 36 to cover a liquidated debt owed to another agency of the State. Under current law, only income tax refunds may be set off. Part D also corrects cross-references.

Part E changes the date by which the Department of Economic and Community Development must provide information under the Brunswick Naval Air Station job increment financing program to the State Tax Assessor from June 30th of each year to June 1st of each year. It requires the department to provide information to the assessor necessary to determine the job tax increment under the program. It also establishes a requirement that businesses located in the base area report to the department by April 15th of each year the number of employees employed at the base area during the immediately preceding calendar year, the state income taxes withheld for each of those employees and any other information as may be reasonably required by the department for purposes of administering the program. It repeals the requirement that the State Tax Assessor issue a Pine Tree Development Zone benefits report annually on October 1st.

Part E also changes the date by which businesses under the Maine Employment Tax Increment Financing Program must report required information to the Department of Economic and Community Development from April 15th of each year to March 15th of each year. Part E also establishes May 15th of each year as the date by which the department must provide information to the State Tax Assessor necessary for making determinations of eligibility for reimbursement under the program.

Part F reduces from 60 days to 15 days the time that a taxpayer with a final tax liability exceeding $1,000 has to cooperate with Maine Revenue Services in a plan for liquidating the tax liability before the State Tax Assessor may notify certain licensing authorities of the taxpayer's lack of cooperation, thereby beginning the license revocation process.

Part G specifies that the filing due date is the original due date, without regard to any extension, for purposes of calculating the statute of limitations for assessments and income tax refunds. This Part applies retroactively to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2017.

Part H makes changes to the real estate transfer tax imposed by Title 36, chapter 711-A, in order to require the filing of real estate transfer tax returns with the State Tax Assessor and the payment of the tax to the State Tax Assessor instead of to the register of deeds for the county in which the real estate being transferred is located. It requires the register of deeds to verify with the State Tax Assessor that the tax liability imposed on the transfer of real property is satisfied before recording the deed transferring the real estate. It directs the State Tax Assessor to prescribe real estate transfer tax returns, removes the statutory requirements to include signatures and taxpayer identification numbers on those forms and clarifies that the value of the real estate transferred must be on the declaration of value.

Part H also provides that the State Tax Assessor is required to develop the computer systems infrastructure necessary to implement the changes made by this Part within 4 years; the changes made by this Part do not take effect until 90 days after the assessor certifies that the computer systems have been developed.

Part I makes the following changes to the credit for major food processing and manufacturing facility expansion.

1. It clarifies the definition of "qualified investment."

2. It clarifies the effect of a certificate revocation.

3. It changes the cumulative credit limit for a single certificate.

4. It clarifies a certified applicant's reporting requirements.